A last-minute deadline for a very fun and entirely unanticipated eleventh hour project has cropped up. This development means a break in New York Film Festival coverage. I have quite a number of films that I still have to write about (and not just NYFF offerings), and my plans are to attempt to unroll as much of this as I can in the next week.
But for folks still on the fence about the films that are playing in the final days, here’s a quick rundown of immediate thoughts. Todd Solondz’s Life Under Wartime is a flawed offering, but but not without its moments. I can’t echo the angry “I’m done with Solondz” sentiments that seems to have made the rounds. I’m certainly not done with him. But if you’re looking for Happiness redux, you’re likely to be disappointed. I hesitate to recommend the film to anyone who is new to Solondz.
You can read my review of Broken Embraces here.
I had to miss Bluebeard because of a conflicting appointment, but Catherine Breillat is always an interesting and provocative filmmaker, and I hope to have a chance to see the film at a later time. I had to miss Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother for similar reasons, but I’ve asked around and heard solid but not ecstatic buzz about this latest offering from the South Korean filmmaker behind The Host.
And while I admire the intelligence that is often contained within Claire Denis’s films, I’m afraid that White Material was a disappointment for me. The film took a perfectly interesting subject (white imperialism) and turned it into a mostly pedestrian and sleep-inducing movie. (Had I not been wired on coffee, I am almost certain that I would have fallen asleep. I wanted to throttle the white characters for their narcissism and thoughtless stupidity.) But I can report that Denis was very passionate in the press conference that followed the screening, particularly when responding to an idiotic journalist who suggested that the African people were “tribal.” I have both video and audio of the exchange, and I hope to get this up, along with my review, early next week.
There’s also a full-length Segundo interview coming with a renowned filmmaker. Stay tuned on these pages for more. But in the meantime, have a fantastic three-day weekend!